Improve building energy efficiency
EPR recommended that government review and amend building performance regulations and programmes to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings.
In May 2021, MBIE publicly consulted on proposed Building Code changes that would make homes and buildings warmer, drier, healthier and more energy efficient. MBIE is analysing feedback and will introduce changes through the annual Building Code update process.
In addition, the Government has established the Building for Climate Change programme to deliver a step-change in energy efficiency for new and existing buildings. The programme intends to reduce emissions from buildings during their construction and operation, and ensure New Zealand’s buildings are resilient enough to withstand changing climate conditions. The programme will play a key role in the Building and Construction sector’s contribution to the Emissions Reduction Plan.
Building for climate change(external link)
Background: Why the review was conducted
In April 2018, the Minister of Energy and Resources commissioned an independent review into New Zealand’s electricity market. This was because electricity prices, especially for residential consumers, increased faster than inflation for many years, putting pressure on household budgets. In comparison, prices faced by commercial and industrial customers remained relatively flat.
Such reviews are not new. Since the 1970s, New Zealand has reviewed its electricity sector roughly every decade – each time substantial changes have been made to improve or correct the sector’s performance. In the 1980s and 1990s, the sector was privatised to improve commercial performance, and a light-handed regulatory regime was developed. By the 2000s, concerns about industry performance and self-governance arrangements resulted in further improvements being made, including developing new regulations and improving market competition to restrain retail prices to efficient levels.
However, the 2018-19 review was unique as it addressed the need for electricity prices to be fair and affordable, not just efficient or competitive. Another novel element was the review’s focus on the consumers’ point of view and their say in the direction of the sector.
This review also considered how to future-proof the sector and its governance structures to help ensure the electricity sector functions well during New Zealand’s transition away from carbon-based fuels – a consideration that will become increasingly important as electricity meets more of New Zealand’s energy needs, and as new technologies are adopted.
As energy production and consumption is such an integral part to New Zealand’s economy, this review was of great interest to the industry and the public.